Tag Archives: Joy

Parhelions and Prayer.

Parhelion
par·he·li·on
noun
  1. a bright spot in the sky appearing on either side of the sun, formed by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals high in the earth’s atmosphere.

Have you ever noticed that when you are having a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month (hence no recent blog posts) the things that make you the happiest, the activities that bring joy, the places that bring contentment, that they are the things that you tend to ignore and reject?

Sitting in a lump on the couch do you find yourself staring at your yoga mat or your running shoes and knowing that getting use out of either of those physical activities will boost your energy and help you shuck off the cloak of moodiness that you have bundled yourself in? Falling out of bed every morning do you pass up the Bible sitting on your nightstand to instead hurriedly get ready for the day, because you hit the snooze button five too many? Do you stare idly at IWasteSoMuchTime.com and hope to get some satisfaction out of the cleverness that others have created instead of going over to your blog and expressing your own wit and wisdom?

Okay, so maybe those are scenes pulled directly from my life, but maybe there are some scenarios of your own that you are thinking of now. I know that they days where I work out are better than the days that I don’t. I know that the days that start in my Bible and in prayer are more joyous and meaningful than the empty days when I go without. I know that the days where I write and blog and create and think are better than the days where I mindlessly par-ooze the internet.

I know all of these things, yet it is hard to convince myself to do them. The ‘blah’ in me has settled in and wants to make a home. The ‘brokenness’ in me is enjoying the lazy, sulking and it is doing all it can to convince me to accept this new blasé way of living.

But enough is enough, and eventually we have to start digging ourselves out. The last few days has found me back in prayer and back to my bible. Today I learned a valuable lesson about prayer and actively seeking.

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A Song. A Prayer.

I need Thee every hour.

Do you ever have it where you go to bed at night and it has been a rough day, or week, or month, or season, and you slip into your comfy bed and think, “Tomorrow will be better. I will try harder. I will be better.  I will hit the ground running and I will accomplish everything that needs accomplishing. I will do it all with a smile on my face and a spring in my step and the day will be wonderful. Yep, in 24 hours I will be crawling into bed with a sense of satisfaction and pride instead of this feeling of disappointment in myself and in the day. That is what I am going to do.”

Most Gracious Lord.

So you wake up . . . after hitting the snooze twice. You realize that you are out of coffee and after checking your bank account balance you realize that you cannot afford to buy one at Starbucks either. *Sigh*. Getting ready for work you realize that your pants are fitting a little snug. Your hair will not stay the way you want it to. You get to work, but you are running a little late.

No tender voice like Thine, can peace afford.

You sit down at your desk to have your supervisor point out an error that you made in one of your projects. It is something that must be done over and instead of starting on a new task you have to spend an hour on the project you thought was completed. A project that you had worried about and you were happy to have completed and accomplished.

What did you do wrong? What did I do wrong? Because if this was your day as well, I would like to tell you that me too. Luckily my supervisor is also a close friend and a strong spiritual leader. So as a few tears leaked through all the stress of my morning she laid her hands on my shoulders and she prayed. Oh, God. Where had I put him this morning? As her prayer washed over me I felt a little lighter and a little happier. I can still do this. . . I mean, He, He can still do this. I have already botched this day, but I know that he can salvage it.

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A Road Rage Story To Inspire

This guy, he had no idea how close he was to getting the front of a Pontiac up under the bumper of his Jeep and run off the road. He had no idea how close he was to seeing a spectacle of maroon fury as this travel weary chica was about to pass someone by use of the ditch. He had no idea how lucky he was that our pastor had used the example of road rage in a sermon a couple of weeks ago and so I was trying to tame the beast. One of my biggest displays of the anger problem that lurks beneath my friendly surface, road rage.

Road Rage

It is the worst in the summer as that is when the “c” word starts coming out. You know what I mean. The shudder you feel when you see that orange sign with those black letters, “Construction Ahead”. I try to be a pretty courteous and smart driver, unfortunately that makes me very upset at those that I do not believe are behaving likewise.

I always thought that that was the worst feeling in the world was being the car stuck in the right lane as those in the left lane fly by, only to merge over a foot before their lane closed. I was wrong, there is a worse feeling. I was on my way home from my road trip, having already driven somewhere around 24 hours, and I had about 20 more to go. Grand Rapids, MI my point A and Pella, IA my point B, for this eight hour leg of the journey at least. I was only a half hour out of the city when I hit dreaded stop and go traffic. There was not even a construction sign in sight, I knew this was going to take a while.

I was in the left lane, and both of the lanes were going slow, the right lane only slightly more so. A half hour passed, I was only inching forward. Then, I finally saw it “Left Lane Closed 2 Miles Ahead”. I hate being the jerk that waits in the left lane until the end, but I had two miles to go and I was barely passing anyone in the right lane anyway. I told myself that I would wait a mile and then try to merge over.

Plus, I like to do this rolling thing. Whenever I get the chance, and the other drivers cooperate, I break free of the “stop and go” headache and I just roll at about 10 mph. I would catch up to the car ahead of me while they were stopped and then they would rush forward at 30 mph or more leaving a nice gap for me to keep rolling in. I hadn’t touched a pedal in about 10 minutes. The right lane, knowing that the left was going to close, wasn’t pulling in to take advantage of the space like they do when I try this around larger cities.

I was a little way past the 2 mile ’til sign when a right lane car finally took advantage of the space left in front of me. I waited for him to dash forward and be the driver who is just trying to gain as much distance as possible, but he didn’t. I soon realized that he was sick of the left lane slowly passing the cars in the right, stopping the left lane from passing anymore. He matched the right lane gas for gas and break for break. I watched as the space between him and the other cars in the left lane increased, 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards, and finally the road became too curvy and I could no longer see the other cars in the left lane.

I was furious. I possibly started foaming at the mouth. How dare he! Doesn’t he know that I have eight more hours to go before I can stop for the day? Who does he think he is? The savior of the right lane? I contemplated the shoulder, but my hubby’s Pontiac was too wide, I would have to put the left side in the ditch and his low clearance scared me. If I was only in my Jeep, I muttered to myself, I would pass him in the ditch. Instead I settled for almost kissing his back bumper with my front every time he stopped alongside the right lane. I made sure he could see me in his side mirror, and I glared.

When we finally got through the construction and where set free on both lanes I caught up to this self-righteous Jeep driver and contemplated boxing him in for the next hundred or so miles. Playing some cat and mouse, or whatever else it took to ruin his day as well. Unfortunately, he was driving too slow and I had many miles to make up.

I have this road rage feeling during everyday life as well. If someone’s life seems to be going better, the journey smoother, the destination reached faster, then I feel that it somehow belittle’s my life and my journey. I am just stuck in the right lane. I am worth less.

Sometimes I am the jerk who pulls over only to slow every one else down. Instead of being happy at a friend’s wedding, I refuse to give any compliments as my wedding was better and everyone should be aware of that. For some reason I believe that the beauty of this wedding somehow diminishes mine.

When someone finds their dream job, I only talk about the negative aspects it brings. For some reason I fear that their joy and success will crowd out mine and somehow make it less.

If they are beautiful, it means that I am not. If they have an amazing vacation, it means that mine was less special. If they completed a marathon it means that my 10k is pathetic. If someone mentions that so-and-so is such an expiring Christian, I soon believe that I am only at pathetic pagan level.

Somehow, I started believing this idea that there can only be one winner, in everything. I started to believe that someone else’s successes can only mean that I can not succeed.

I need to start seeing as God sees. Their beauty does not mean that I am flawed. Their inspiring Christian life does not mean that I am living a lesser journey. Joy is not a contest. I can have joy in my experiences while others have joy in theirs, and we should have joy in each other.

The race of life. I have to stop trying to beat others, and just focus on my own personal best.


I Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart.

Where?

I looked up from the couch as the lock clicked and I watched my husband come in, just home from work. One hand was still holding our apartment keys and in the other he had carefully balanced two bottles of Mt. Dew and a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. My favorites. Now those who really know me would read that paragraph and shudder, because they know me and what this picture means. So let me shift the picture for you.

Down in my heart.

I am sitting on the couch in my  sweat pants and a t-shirt with cut off sleeves. I have an Xbox controller in one hand and the other is eating semi-sweet chocolate chips straight out of the bag. I had been doing this for the past hour and a half and today was supposed to be my uber productive day. The room that I was hoping to clean today, wasn’t. The dishes that were supposed to be washed, still dirty. The blog posts that should have been written, blankness.

Where?

James sat down and I put my head in his lap so I could start crying. In doing this we found that I had dropped some of my chocolaty morsels and I now had two melted chocolate chips on my butt and one melted to my calf. I was a disgraceful picture.

Down in my heart.

Depression had worked its way into what otherwise would have been a perfect day. But that is what it is. When I tell some people that I suffer from depression they just think that when things go wrong I get really, really sad. No, that is sadness. When things go wrong I do get sad, that is normal. Depression is when every thing is going right, and all I want to do is lay down and cry.

I got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart.

You can take all your top 10 lists that tell me how to be productive, how to be happy, how to have a better self-image, how to have a cleaner house. You can take all of your advice and all of your kind words. You can take all of that and keep it for another day. I will not be able to use it today. I can read the happiest quote while looking at a picture of the cutest puppy and my heart will not stir. If anything I will probably start crying because the world looks so bleak.

Where?

I do not cut anymore, but the idea behind lingers with me. Toward the end of the day I am lying in bed, upset again. I had tried to write a post but it seemed all wrong, totally forced. I failed again today. James comes in as he hears me tossing around on the bed. I am restless. He holds me as I rant. My feelings get all mixed up inside. I do not want to do anything. It is 10:00 pm and I have not even had supper yet, I should be starving. But I do not want to do anything. I do not want to get up and have supper. Yet lying in this bed is actually still doing something, and I do not want to stay here either. But getting up is definitely doing something. I tell James all of this in a mumble of sentences. I tell him, “All I know is that I have a headache and all I want to do is hit my head against the wall repeatedly.” He stares at me strangely, “How is that supposed to help your headache.” And I watch his eyes sadden as I say, “Because at least then I will hurt on the outside, and that is much better than hurting on the inside.”

Down in my heart to stay.

We pray then. I do not want to, which is a good sign that we should. We pray for healing and for joy and for peace. We pray for Depression, Doubt, and Worry to leave me. We pray, and I feel slightly better. James says there is a look of hope in my eyes. I get up, eat some supper, start filling out important dates in my new daily planner, and I look up a couple of the 5k races my friend and I have been talking about. Depression still lingers over me, but I can manage for now at least.

Now for my favorite verse.

I have the Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Blessed-Redeemer-Way-Down-In-The-Depths-Of-My-Heart. (quick breath) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. (breathe!) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. . .

To stay.

"I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.

“I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.